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(Daily Mail)   British eco-friendly homes not so much   (dailymail.co.uk) divider line 45
    More: Fail, general contractors, eco, warm air, West Yorkshire  
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7009 clicks; posted to Main » on 05 Feb 2013 at 3:40 AM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-02-05 12:26:11 AM  
No cure for shiatty contractors.
 
2013-02-05 12:28:08 AM  
My place was supposed to have therma-pane windows and hyper-insulated everything. When the winter came, I noticed a draft through the air conditioning system. When I opened it up, I found that the air conditioning unit they'd installed was actually a size too small for the space provided. So they'd stuffed paper towels around the edges of it, and just left it that way, open to space, air flowing freely.

I got a high-quality blanket and wrapped my half of the air conditioner in it. We're getting a new one in the spring.
 
2013-02-05 01:04:45 AM  
I wonder if they are using the same R-values as Australia does for brick and brick facade buildings.  It is based on a test that doesn't consider the thermal mass at all and makes uninsulated  double brick walls look like the best building material ever.  Too bad that isn't so good if the bricks get very hot or very cold.
 
2013-02-05 01:18:14 AM  
i.dailymail.co.uk
New development: Solar Panels can be seen on the roofs of the houses in the complex which was only completed in July 2011 at a cost of £5.6million

Solar panels? In the UK?

Yeah, I think I found your problem.
 
2013-02-05 01:56:43 AM  

miss diminutive: New development: Solar Panels can be seen on the roofs of the houses in the complex which was only completed in July 2011 at a cost of £5.6million

Solar panels? In the UK?

Yeah, I think I found your problem.


That^^
And I know solar tech has gotten more efficient. But what are they trying to power with one window size panel?
 
2013-02-05 02:18:16 AM  

miss diminutive: [i.dailymail.co.uk image 634x319]
New development: Solar Panels can be seen on the roofs of the houses in the complex which was only completed in July 2011 at a cost of £5.6million

Solar panels? In the UK?

Yeah, I think I found your problem.


Even in the middle of the Mojave a single panel like that will barely charge an iPhone.
 
2013-02-05 02:22:07 AM  

DownDaRiver: miss diminutive: New development: Solar Panels can be seen on the roofs of the houses in the complex which was only completed in July 2011 at a cost of £5.6million

Solar panels? In the UK?

Yeah, I think I found your problem.

That^^
And I know solar tech has gotten more efficient. But what are they trying to power with one window size panel?


That is a hot water pre-heat panel.  Seems a bit small but some of the vapor phase ones work very well.  That doesn't look like the good ones so I'm guessing it makes the water cooler for something like 20 hours of a day in the summer and worse the rest of the time.

UK water heaters are typically an electric kettle like devices in the shower.  Having electricity in the shower was apparently safer than the pressure tank systems that are so common in the US.   Some places have a water tank that is open at the top with a float valve like a toilet tank and an emersion heater that may or may not be on timer or thermostat.
 
2013-02-05 03:50:18 AM  
And because it's in the Daily Mail, you know that the article will be balanced and will have been thoroughly researched...
 
2013-02-05 03:52:28 AM  
Oh, hi there, soccer-shirt-Jim Norton.
 
2013-02-05 03:57:45 AM  

stickymichael: And because it's in the Daily Mail, you know that the article will be balanced and will have been thoroughly researched...



i.imgur.com

and

img708.imageshack.us
 
2013-02-05 04:01:48 AM  
"Resident Danny Hall, 27, a redundant sales adviser..."

Oh you British and your funny terms!
 
2013-02-05 04:07:09 AM  
We can rule out electric toothbrushes as the cause of all that electricity being used.
 
2013-02-05 04:13:45 AM  
stickymichael
And because it's in the Daily Mail, you know that the article will be balanced and will have been thoroughly researched...

Sometimes it's nice to be able to read something and know, with 100% certainty, that it's complete and utter horsecrap.
 
2013-02-05 04:22:11 AM  
The problem is oviouse...No Windmills.
The solution...A good Windmill seller.
 
2013-02-05 04:24:14 AM  
the solar panel is what 1 or 2 meters square . . for England, down here in Sydney we have solar heating for our swimming pools that is several meters across and we have 100's of sunny days per year.

~ also DEM JEANS
 
2013-02-05 04:30:56 AM  
DON.MAC~

Thanks for the good info on those panels.
 
2013-02-05 04:40:18 AM  

RanDomino: stickymichael
And because it's in the Daily Mail, you know that the article will be balanced and will have been thoroughly researched...

Sometimes it's nice to be able to read something and know, with 100% certainty, that it's complete and utter horsecrap.


I do miss the Weekly World News....
 
2013-02-05 04:54:18 AM  
Resident Danny Hall, 27, a redundant sales adviser, his wife Jacqueline, 28, and their three children have had problems 'from day one'.

Er, I think you mean unemployed, ass clown. Redundant sales adviser? Lulz. I guess if the Daily Mail had referred to their heroes as unemployed the ground would've opened up underneath fleet street.
 
2013-02-05 05:12:23 AM  
according to his daily kwh average, dude uses around 597 kwh a month and his (presumably) monthly billing was for £217, or $340.69. if a quarter of his utility bill is for waste water, trash, water, drainage, etc., then his electricity is $255.51.
that's 42.9 cents a kwh. you can see why he was excited about moving into an energy efficient place.


i.dailymail.co.uk .
 
2013-02-05 05:30:51 AM  
Ah, no standard like a government standard.
 
2013-02-05 06:06:44 AM  

100 Watt Walrus: stickymichael: And because it's in the Daily Mail, you know that the article will be balanced and will have been thoroughly researched...


[i.imgur.com image 640x640]

and

[img708.imageshack.us image 396x317]


Dan & Dan Agree.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5eBT6OSr1TI
 
2013-02-05 06:22:50 AM  
I've been informed the real travesty is the guy wearing the Liverpool shirt.
 
2013-02-05 06:26:42 AM  

ShawnDoc: miss diminutive: [i.dailymail.co.uk image 634x319]
New development: Solar Panels can be seen on the roofs of the houses in the complex which was only completed in July 2011 at a cost of £5.6million

Solar panels? In the UK?

Yeah, I think I found your problem.

Even in the middle of the Mojave a single panel like that will barely charge an iPhone.


Our estate has good southern exposure so a lot of the houses have gotten solar panels installed. Full or near full, roof of course, not just a single panel.

Our only issue with having them installed is we'd need to replace the combi-boiler with a more traditional model. Don't really feel like doing that right now.
 
2013-02-05 06:28:47 AM  
i.dailymail.co.uk

Don't hate, your jealous of the jeans.

/hot
 
2013-02-05 06:32:21 AM  

Sim Tree: My place was supposed to have therma-pane windows and hyper-insulated everything. When the winter came, I noticed a draft through the air conditioning system. When I opened it up, I found that the air conditioning unit they'd installed was actually a size too small for the space provided. So they'd stuffed paper towels around the edges of it, and just left it that way, open to space, air flowing freely.

I got a high-quality blanket and wrapped my half of the air conditioner in it. We're getting a new one in the spring.



We just had our quite old windows replaced with decent ones. First thing I noticed was a new draft coming from under the washing machine. Turns out the out-flow pipes had never been fully sealed. That's now taken care of.

Kinda proved how drafty the old windows and doors were though.
 
2013-02-05 06:38:09 AM  

stickymichael: And because it's in the Daily Mail, you know that the article will be balanced and will have been thoroughly researched...




Here's a link from the local Bradford paper, which the DM seems to have liberally used for its article.
About a week before this article, the local paper ran a fluff paper praising the new development. Ooops...

/Go Bantams
//first chance of major silverware in 100 years
 
2013-02-05 06:48:34 AM  
What happens when people move into these "efficient" houses is they leave shiat on, use more power, etc.   The problem is the houses are VERY efficient at not letting that heat out, so they then have to run the air conditioning in the winter.  They're so sealed that the houses MUST have forced circulation in order for the residents to breathe, etc.

The US experimented with "high efficiency housing" for a while in the mid to late 80's and we discovered it was bullshiat then.   You end up with mold filled death traps that smell worse than a box of dead squirrels.

Efficiency isn't healthy.   The correct design is "low expense housing" where you make it possible to have 90% of the windows actual area open, you put large vents in the roof to get rid of heat, you install a two layer roof so most the heat never gets into the attic and you place ventilation systems in every room so people can dump the hot air from their computers, televisions and general kitchen use.
 
2013-02-05 06:54:51 AM  

relcec: according to his daily kwh average, dude uses around 597 kwh a month and his (presumably) monthly billing was for £217, or $340.69. if a quarter of his utility bill is for waste water, trash, water, drainage, etc., then his electricity is $255.51.
that's 42.9 cents a kwh. you can see why he was excited about moving into an energy efficient place.


[i.dailymail.co.uk image 634x315] .


Thanks for doing the math. I was converting to American electricity costs and trying to find a source of outrage.
 
2013-02-05 06:57:41 AM  

DON.MAC: DownDaRiver: miss diminutive: New development: Solar Panels can be seen on the roofs of the houses in the complex which was only completed in July 2011 at a cost of £5.6million

Solar panels? In the UK?

Yeah, I think I found your problem.

That^^
And I know solar tech has gotten more efficient. But what are they trying to power with one window size panel?

That is a hot water pre-heat panel.  Seems a bit small but some of the vapor phase ones work very well.  That doesn't look like the good ones so I'm guessing it makes the water cooler for something like 20 hours of a day in the summer and worse the rest of the time.

UK water heaters are typically an electric kettle like devices in the shower.  Having electricity in the shower was apparently safer than the pressure tank systems that are so common in the US.   Some places have a water tank that is open at the top with a float valve like a toilet tank and an emersion heater that may or may not be on timer or thermostat.


It's more common to have gas combi boilers in the UK.  I don't think I know anyone who doesn't have their hot water and heating provided from a combi boiler.  The mains water goes in and is heated on demand, so when I turn on a tap the water will flow cold for a few seconds then become hot as it passes through the boiler.  The heating part works the same way - when the heating starts up the water is heated as it's sent to the radiators so you're never heating more water than you need.  They're very efficient, ours is about 95% efficient I think, and most of the waste heat is condensed so the main by-product is water vapour.

We have an electric shower in one bathroom (in case there's ever a problem with the combi boiler) and a standard boiler-fed shower in another,
 
2013-02-05 07:04:56 AM  
 
2013-02-05 07:50:01 AM  
At the altitude of England you need about 40 m^2 of solarpanels to run a normal house, if you are not using electricity for heating.
The picture shows a 1.5 m¨2 panel, so the amount of electricity collected is probably not enough to pay for the infrastructure.

Building energy efficient houses is a good idea, but you have to do it properly and teach people how not to waste energy by running aircondition at same time as the heater and stuff like that.
 
2013-02-05 08:13:51 AM  

stucka: relcec: according to his daily kwh average, dude uses around 597 kwh a month and his (presumably) monthly billing was for £217, or $340.69. if a quarter of his utility bill is for waste water, trash, water, drainage, etc., then his electricity is $255.51.
that's 42.9 cents a kwh. you can see why he was excited about moving into an energy efficient place.


[i.dailymail.co.uk image 634x315] .

Thanks for doing the math. I was converting to American electricity costs and trying to find a source of outrage.


I think that bill is for three months, and for just electricity. So about $115us / month for 19.9 kwh / day = 19.26 cents / kwh.  That is still pretty high.  (time-of-use rates here near Toronto top out at 11.8 cents)

The 19.9kwh / day is in the ballpark usage wise for my "average" efficient house.  The difference is they don't also have a gas bill for heating. And being redundant, they're home all day too. So these houses aren't as bad as the article would like to suggest.  Surprise surprise.
 
2013-02-05 08:14:26 AM  
Spiralmonkey:

We have an electric shower in one bathroom (in case there's ever a problem with the combi boiler) and a standard boiler-fed shower in another,

When did the shift start happening?  I know about 15 years ago there was a trend to use combis but they seemed like a very hard sale even though they were massively more efficient unless they were replacing a full boiler.  Also is it regional since?  I have many friends with the electric showers but maybe it is something I notice while ignoring the ones with heaters elsewhere.  About 4 years ago I lived in a house with a Baxi combo that peaked at about 94% efficient and for some reason the landlord wanted to put it inside the house to use it to help dry clothes but the plumber told him that was illegal here in Oz.  25 years ago I lived in a house with one of the early instant hot water heaters.  My gas bill for 14 days in the summer was something like $300 and I only used hot water for showers and cleaning the house and I'm glad I got that bill only a few weeks after I moved in.

Around here split A/C systems are more often used for heating and cooling since it can get so hot.  I have a 3 year old unit in my bedroom that will use between 45 and 85 watts most of the time even if it has to drop the temp by 1°C.  At that rate running it 24x7 for a year would cost me about $120 to keep a small room at the proper temp.
 
2013-02-05 08:47:22 AM  

relcec: according to his daily kwh average, dude uses around 597 kwh a month and his (presumably) monthly billing was for £217, or $340.69. if a quarter of his utility bill is for waste water, trash, water, drainage, etc., then his electricity is $255.51.
that's 42.9 cents a kwh. you can see why he was excited about moving into an energy efficient place.


[i.dailymail.co.uk image 634x315] .


I know electricity costs are probably different, but my almost 1700sqft house in JULY when we had a month straight of temps over 100 degrees, my electricity bill hit maybe 250.
 
2013-02-05 09:07:43 AM  

Skraeling: relcec: according to his daily kwh average, dude uses around 597 kwh a month and his (presumably) monthly billing was for £217, or $340.69. if a quarter of his utility bill is for waste water, trash, water, drainage, etc., then his electricity is $255.51.
that's 42.9 cents a kwh. you can see why he was excited about moving into an energy efficient place.


[i.dailymail.co.uk image 634x315] .

I know electricity costs are probably different, but my almost 1700sqft house in JULY when we had a month straight of temps over 100 degrees, my electricity bill hit maybe 250.


Getting power from the Ameran plant in Callaway?  You might be paying $.02/kwh (plus $.02 for decommissioning tax) or you might be getting some of the cheaper coal power.  Lots of the world pays 10x more per kwh.  I was paying $.30/kwh last month.
 
2013-02-05 09:36:50 AM  
'ello, watt's all this then?
 
2013-02-05 09:43:22 AM  

relcec: according to his daily kwh average, dude uses around 597 kwh a month and his (presumably) monthly billing was for £217, or $340.69. if a quarter of his utility bill is for waste water, trash, water, drainage, etc., then his electricity is $255.51.
that's 42.9 cents a kwh. you can see why he was excited about moving into an energy efficient place.


[i.dailymail.co.uk image 634x315] .



No, this is just for electricity.  It's not a combined utilities bill.  Rubbish collection is paid for via council tax, the water bill comes from your water supplier.  So it's 57.07 cents per kwh.
 
2013-02-05 09:50:47 AM  

DON.MAC: Spiralmonkey:

We have an electric shower in one bathroom (in case there's ever a problem with the combi boiler) and a standard boiler-fed shower in another,

When did the shift start happening?  I know about 15 years ago there was a trend to use combis but they seemed like a very hard sale even though they were massively more efficient unless they were replacing a full boiler.  Also is it regional since?  I have many friends with the electric showers but maybe it is something I notice while ignoring the ones with heaters elsewhere.  About 4 years ago I lived in a house with a Baxi combo that peaked at about 94% efficient and for some reason the landlord wanted to put it inside the house to use it to help dry clothes but the plumber told him that was illegal here in Oz.  25 years ago I lived in a house with one of the early instant hot water heaters.  My gas bill for 14 days in the summer was something like $300 and I only used hot water for showers and cleaning the house and I'm glad I got that bill only a few weeks after I moved in.

Around here split A/C systems are more often used for heating and cooling since it can get so hot.  I have a 3 year old unit in my bedroom that will use between 45 and 85 watts most of the time even if it has to drop the temp by 1°C.  At that rate running it 24x7 for a year would cost me about $120 to keep a small room at the proper temp.


I don't recall when combis became the norm, I only know ours is 98% efficient because we only replaced it 5 months ago, replacing an older combi boiler that was probably about 18-20 years old, so I'd guess maybe 20-some years they've been commonly in use.  I think before then it was usual to have a gas powered boiler that heated the water and did the heating as well but you needed a storage tank for the hot water instead of it just heating as you draw it.   We don't have a hot water tank now but we did when I was a kid.
 
2013-02-05 12:11:10 PM  

relcec: according to his daily kwh average, dude uses around 597 kwh a month and his (presumably) monthly billing was for £217, or $340.69. if a quarter of his utility bill is for waste water, trash, water, drainage, etc., then his electricity is $255.51.
that's 42.9 cents a kwh. you can see why he was excited about moving into an energy efficient place.

[i.dailymail.co.uk image 634x315] .


Yeah, I'll have to call some shenanigans on this article. Take a close look at the bill. Their last bill was from Sept 01, 2012. It looks like the latest billing date is December 1st, 2012 (inferring from their last bi-weekly payment on Nov 14).

It says they're averaging 19.9 kWh a day, over *3* months - which would be roughly 1,850 kWh. Taking a look at the latest US dollar to pound conversion, they owe $343 for 3-month's worth of electricity ($114 dollars a month). That isn't too bad for winter. The average US home uses about 24 kWh a day of electricity, but typically gets heating energy from natural gas. If you include all sources and energy types, total US home energy consumption is closer to ~80 kWh worth of energy.

Breaking that down by $ per kWh, they're paying $0.185 a kWh - which isn't horrible.

The reason their overall balance is so high is because they didn't pay their previous utility bills and are piling up their costs from earlier in the year.
 
2013-02-05 01:16:07 PM  
The Scandinavians know how to build efficient homes.  And I could come up with a good design for a small house in the Southern US that wouldn't need to have any monthly bills.  But, the preconceived and socially acceptable 'standard' house is very wasteful.

In my cookie-cutter HOA house in Ohio, I put 1.7 kW of solar panels on my roof, and my December e-bill was $12.35 USD.  I might not be 'normal', but if you turn off stuff, and use energy efficient laptops instead of desktops and CRT monitors, it works just fine.  When I go to work, my house only has a few alarm clocks and smoke detectors plugged in.  I even flip the breaker for things not often used.

This is a fixable problem, and I shouldn't have to do everything myself to make it happen.  It just pisses me off when people mess it up and make it look bad.
 
2013-02-05 06:09:00 PM  

fusillade762: No cure for shiatty contractors.


This.

I met some distant relatives who bought a hundred year old house that was falling apart so they could tear it back to the studs and rebuild it from the ground up to be super efficient and use zero emissions. They put in passive heating, extra large windows, solar panels, geothermal, high R value insulation,  greywater/rainwater harvesters, a rain garden, bamboo flooring you name it, it's got it and it looks incredible.

They used an architect with 20+ years of experience who designed everything. But they've been through five different contractors and told me they had to watch everything they did because they were constantly cutting corners, doing a crappy job and not assembling things properly. They've worked through every step of the process and had to teach themselves almost everything. It's taken them three years and the house is livable but not completely finished. Everything has to be done properly or its not going to work and it isn't going to become practical for the average joe until contractors/installers are properly trained and developers stop doing the least that can be done.
 
2013-02-05 07:33:56 PM  

MrSteve007: relcec: according to his daily kwh average, dude uses around 597 kwh a month and his (presumably) monthly billing was for £217, or $340.69. if a quarter of his utility bill is for waste water, trash, water, drainage, etc., then his electricity is $255.51.
that's 42.9 cents a kwh. you can see why he was excited about moving into an energy efficient place.

[i.dailymail.co.uk image 634x315] .

Yeah, I'll have to call some shenanigans on this article. Take a close look at the bill. Their last bill was from Sept 01, 2012. It looks like the latest billing date is December 1st, 2012 (inferring from their last bi-weekly payment on Nov 14).

It says they're averaging 19.9 kWh a day, over *3* months - which would be roughly 1,850 kWh. Taking a look at the latest US dollar to pound conversion, they owe $343 for 3-month's worth of electricity ($114 dollars a month). That isn't too bad for winter. The average US home uses about 24 kWh a day of electricity, but typically gets heating energy from natural gas. If you include all sources and energy types, total US home energy consumption is closer to ~80 kWh worth of energy.

Breaking that down by $ per kWh, they're paying $0.185 a kWh - which isn't horrible.

The reason their overall balance is so high is because they didn't pay their previous utility bills and are piling up their costs from earlier in the year.


gracias
 
2013-02-06 04:51:16 PM  
They're paying through the nose per kWh.  I'm in SE England, not exactly the cheapest part of the country, and paying an average of 13p per kWh (including standing charge).  Average monthly bill for our 1200 sqft home is about £35. Admittedly water and heating are both gas, which averages about £45/mo. On the other hand, our house is a 1890's draughty Victorian home with the heat cranked up to 25C in the winter...

Dude needs a new electricity supplier... there's competition here and it's simple to switch.

And E-on (their supplier by the look of the bill) can suck my left nut.  Bastards have the worst customer service out of the "big six"... and there's some tough competition for that title.
 
2013-02-06 10:29:38 PM  
Deserves obvious tag. Never trust a greenie.
 
2013-02-07 12:27:11 AM  

Ima4nic8or: Deserves obvious tag. Never trust a greenie.


Late troll is late.

img72.imageshack.us
 
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